15 January 2013

Namibia: Lawyers to Argue On Homses Sentence

Windhoek — The lawyers in the case of Esmereel Cerelda Homses, who was convicted on 12 of the 29 counts of fraud she faced, are expected to argue over the sentence to be delivered by Judge Alfred Siboleka tomorrow.

This was after the hearing of the submissions that was set down for argument over three days was postponed to Wednesday by the trial judge, after mutual agreement by defence lawyer Sisa Namandje who appears on behalf of Homses and the prosecution.

Homses was in a relaxed mood in court, joking with well-wishers and even got down to the business of cleaning her nails, obviously very much confident in the abilities of her lawyer.

Homses, who was employed as a manager in the legal department of Santam Namibia faced 29 charges of fraud, alternatively theft by false pretences or theft.

She was accused of defrauding the insurance giant of N$1.1 million between June 2005 and January 2008.

Namandje is expected to woo Judge Siboleka into delivering a very lenient sentence for his client, preferably a suspended sentence combined with a fine, while Marondedze would want the court to show no leniency and to throw the book at Homses.

When he delivered his judgment, Judge Siboleka hammered on the fact that since a password is a strict security measure that should never be made known to others, it should have been an indication to Homses who is a legally qualified person, heading the legal department, to understand the huge losses that could easily ensue if this security precaution was not strictly adhered to.

The judge was very vocal in his adjudication saying Homses deliberately ignored this measure and readily made her password known to everybody in her department, and most importantly told them to use it, contrary to company policy. He further said the accused then turned around and used her own violation of the security measures as a defence by saying that since her password was known to everybody in the legal department, its presence on the 29 claim files before court does not necessarily mean that it was herself who requested authorisation of payments on those claims.

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